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(1981 Drexler) Protein engineering as a path to advanced nanotechnologies

Argues that “development of the ability to design protein molecules will open a path to the fabrication of devices to complex atomic specifications, thus sidestepping obstacles facing conventional microtechnology. This path will involve construction of molecular machinery able to position reactive groups [note: not ‘atoms’] to atomic precision.” This paper is the first to distinguish the protein fold prediction problem from the protein fold design problem. Computational approaches based on this “inverse folding” idea subsequently formed the basis for work both in de novo protein engineering and in the identification of fresh instances of known folding patterns in nature.

Cited as foundational to the field of protein engineering:

Link  (1997 DeGrado) Commentary: “A banner year for de novo protein design”

With link to full text and note:

Drexler, KE, “Molecular engineering: An approach to the development of general capabilities for molecular manipulation,” Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, September 1981, 78:5275-5278. (citations)